Energy

PG&E Stocks Plummet As California Fires Continue To Rage

OSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

California’s largest utility watched its stock price tumble to a 10-year low as investigators search for the cause of raging wildfires that have devastated the state.

Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) stock price took a nosedive Monday, closing at its lowest level since 2008. The sharp dip comes amid investor concern over wildfires that have caused unprecedented damage in the state. California regulators are investigating the cause of the fires, with PG&E and other utilities being considered as possible culprits.

A structure is seen engulfed in flames during the Camp Fire in Paradise

A structure is seen engulfed in flames during the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

In just the past few days, three separate fires have upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living in California. The Woolsey and Hill fires in Southern California have resulted in hundreds of burned buildings and thousands forced to evacuate. The Camp Fire in Northern California has become the state’s deadliest in history.

The official death toll from Camp Fire jumped to 42 on Monday, with a strong possibility of that number getting higher as firefighters locate more bodies.

PG&E reported an electric safety incident on Thursday to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in an area near Camp Fire. The company’s power lines could possibly be the source of Camp Fire.

While the causes of the fires still remain unknown, the CPUC announced Monday that it is launching an investigation into PG&E and Southern California Edison (SCE), another major California utility. Such a circumstance is not great for PG&E, a company that has already eaten over $2 billion in costs over its responsibility for previous forest fires in 2018. (RELATED: California Wildfires Burned The Equivalent Of 7 San Franciscos, Torched 6,800 Buildings, Left Dozens Dead)

A lot of blame has gone around for California’s recent fires. Outgoing Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown — and PG&E officials themselves — have pointed the finger at global warming. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, has repeatedly blamed the fires on the state’s poor forest management.

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